BANYANA Banyana dominated the second half proceedings to run out 4-1 winners over Zambia in the first leg of their African Women Championship 2012 qualifier in a match played at the Nkoloma Stadium in Lusaka, Zambia today.
The Sasol-sponsored side will carry their advantage through to the return leg fixture to be played in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga on June 16.
While the first half produced no goals, the hosts lost the services of their goalkeeper Mirriam Katamauda who was carried from the field and taken to hospital after pulling off a close range save from Matlou in the 20th minute.
Substitute goalkeeper Delly Lumwaya was kept busy for the remainder of the first period, but the goal scoring chances that went the way of Matlou, fellow striker Portia Modise and midfielder Mary Ntsweng – a header put over the cross bar from close range – were not converted.
The South Africans were lucky to escape being a goal down at the break after a pile driving effort from the left by Musonda Sakala was cleared away from the Banyana Banyana goal-mouth with goalkeeper Thoko Mndaweni beaten.
Matlou, the CAF Women’s Player of the Year 2009 and current SA Sportswoman of the Year, headed home two minutes after the half-time break to continue her goal-scoring form. She also scored in the national team’s 2-1 win over the Zambians in an Olympic qualifier there in January last year.
But the Zambians showed great character to equalize in the 60th minute when a looping ball played in to the right hand side of the Banyana Banyana penalty area was blasted home by Etas Banda with the South Africans appealing unsuccessfully for an offside ruling.
But three minutes later, Lumwaya made an awful blunder as she dropped a relatively easy cross at the feet of second half substitute Sanah Mollo who scored with ease.
This was the Bloemfontein Celtics (Sasol League Free State) striker’s third goal in two matches having scored twice as a substitute in Banyana Banyana’s 5-2 win over Tanzania in an international friendly match played in Dar es Salaam last weekend.
Things went from bad to worse for Zambia when, eight minutes later, Lumwaya was left red-faced as she dropped the ball into her own goal-net at the near post. This was after a free-kick taken from the right by Banyana Banyana defender Nothando Vilakazi.
Lumwaya, who was later rushed to hospital, spent five minutes on the grass receiving medical attention after she collided with the goal post as she lost control of the ball.
Substitute midfielder Chisala Musonda changed into the goalkeeper’s jersey – becoming the third goalkeeper for Zambia in one match.
Banyana took advantage of the make-shift goalkeeper with Mollo cruising through the host’s defence and scoring her second goal of the match with ease.
Head coach, Joseph Mkhonza is happy about the results as the players applied themselves to see them score the four winning goals.
“I am happy that we got a win here in Zambia, I am proud that the girls showed a lot of mental strength in front of a very supportive home crowd. We came here to accomplish one of our missions and that’s playing towards the number one spot on the continent. The girls showed character and applied what we learnt as they scored two goals from set-pieces,” said Mkhonza. “Going into the second leg, we don’t want to dwell on the four-one lead but rather aim at scoring more goals.”
Mollo, who scored another two goals in this match, is happy that the game went in their favour.
“I am happy that I scored two of the goals that led my country to victory against Zambia. Scoring has boosted my confidence levels and I am hoping to carry this momentum into the second leg of the qualifier,” said the player known as Diego.